January 21, 2010

An Old “Royal” Residence

My friend, David, has arrived rather unexpectedly due to a mix up in communications, but he’s now here for a week or so…

I was invited to an opening of a hotel in Baltimore that was once home to the Duchess of Windsor.  Not too interesting you say?  Well, this building had sat empty for more than 20 years, right in the midst of a very cultural neighbourhood. It was just waiting for the right person to come along and transform it. Brexton1 Baltimore SunThe building, which is full of turrets and towers, opened in 1891 as a residential hotel with 60 rooms. Wallis Warfield Simpson lived there for a while when she was a child, long before she became the Duchess of Windsor. Brexton4 Baltimore SunBut the years took their toll and the hotel closed. It was stripped of all of its claw-foot tubs, radiators and mantles. Water came in and peeled the paint, and trees grew from its roof. 

One of the featured that remained was the hotel’s six-story spiral staircase, with its original wood handrail. It is located on the rounded turret on the right side of the building. 

Brexton5 Baltimore Sun

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01-20 015 Now, The Hotel Brexton has been renovated and is scheduled to open in early February. It’s walking distance to art galleries, the symphony and the art college. Although the original architectural features are long gone, there are still enough remaining to make the place interesting. 01-20 004It’s great to see an old and beautiful building restored and reused.

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But perhaps some of the old spirits remain…01-20 011


  1. How cool, I've driven past that building but never knew it was once the home of the Duchess of Windsor, though I knew she hailed from Baltimore!

    Be sure to take lots of pictures at the opening in February!

    Enjoy your visit with David. Sometimes it's great when guests show up early, it means we can stop getting ready!

    Kat :)

  2. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing - please keep me/us posted - what a great building. KDM

  3. Read about this in the Sun yesterday and was so excited. Baltimore has such great architecture. Lucky you to go to the grand opening!

  4. How wonderful that someone was finally able to restore this treasure.
    I received my book today-thank you again. The packaging was so lovely and I LOVE the tags. I had looked at them previously on your etsy page, you are so creative.

  5. It is wonderful to read of the re-use of these grand old buildings. Especially when it is done with such style and grace!

    Enjoy your guest,


  6. I remember this fab building! We stayed right around the corner from it! I love Baltimore!
    xo xo

  7. Right up my alley!! So glad it has been restored instead of a tear-down!

  8. What a great resource!

  9. thanks for posting this & the photos are great! I lived there for about a year right before they "shut" the building up .... it was a magical place to live and very cheap, many bohemians were forced out of their little apts. when the owner died in the late 1980's ... so relieved someone was able to finally bring it back to life! : )

  10. Beautiful building fabulous architecture. I had an apartment in this building in 1978/79, and I'm so pleased to see that it has been saved.


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